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Is This Legal?: The Inside Story of The First UFC from the Man Who Created It Hardcover – July 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


I thought I knew just about everything there was to know on the birth of MMA in this country. What I found out in Is This Legal? is that I knew barely anything. Art and Sean have masterfully crafted a fascinating and compelling must-read for anyone who prides themselves on being a combat sports fan. --Kevin Kay, President, Spike TV

This is a must-read for all UFC fans! The Man, the Myth, the Legend, Art Davie tells the true, inside story of how he created the Ultimate Fighting Championship. You will laugh out loud when you discover the human side of how the toughest sport on the planet got it's start! --Tedd Williams, Owner, Gladiator Challenge & UFC Veteran

Is This Legal? is an honest, shocking, enthralling and nostalgic look back at the creation of the modern age of mixed martial arts in the United States. This is all the real stuff that no one gets to see or hear about, when the newest combative sport of MMA was forged, and Art Davie was one of its founding fathers! Thanks goes out to Art for persevering, and giving all professional martial artists a place to ply our wares and test our skills. --Randy Couture, UFC Hall of Famer & Former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion

About the Author

Art Davie is the creator of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the father of mixed martial arts (MMA). Davie came to sports and entertainment from the advertising agency business. Spectacle and creativity was always a theme in Davie's work. Davie even performed his own stunts in TV commercials. Davie had an epiphany in 1993, and created the television tournament that pitted boxers, wrestlers and martial artists against each other. This was the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the franchise that exploded on Pay-Per-View TV, and two decades later, is still going strong. In addition to being the UFC's founder and creator, Davie co-produced, created personalities, booked, matched fighters and served as the organization's commissioner. In 1998, Davie brought the popular K-1: The New Fighting Sport from Fuji TV in Japan to American television with a show at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The fire to create new TV shows brought him to Mandalay Sports Entertainment in 2003, where he developed pilots, including King of the Streets, a drag-racing reality show; Fight Quest, a mixed-martial arts reality show; and MAGIC (Making a Great Inner City), with Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Davie attended New York Military Academy (where his roommate was Donald Trump), St. John's University and Pace College in New York. After military service, he worked with youth gangs in New York City as a member of the Youth Services Agency - Crisis Task Force. As a United States Marine sergeant, he had top secret clearance, and worked at the Commandant's Communications Center in the Pentagon. He was later awarded the Navy Achievement Medal with combat "V" for his service in Vietnam. Sean Wheelock holds the distinction of being the only person to serve as play-by-play commentator on the FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl, US Open tennis and world championship fights in mixed martial arts. One of the best known American commentators in both MMA and soccer, Wheelock's broadcasting work has taken him to over 25 countries, and dates back to when he was 18 years old. Wheelock is currently the play-by-play commentator for Bellator Fighting Championships, which airs nationally across the United States and Canada on Spike TV, as well as worldwide. He has also called numerous kickboxing and boxing matches for ESPN/ESPN2, Fox Sports International, EuroSport and Metro Sports Television. Wheelock has served as the BBC's North American sports correspondent since 1996. He has called three Super Bowls for the BBC, and hosted their weekly series on the NFL. Wheelock works annually as a commentator at the US Open for the international television broadcast. A lifelong Kansan, Wheelock lives in the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee, Kansas with his wife Kelly, originally of Odiham, Hampshire, England, and their young daughters Ellee and Hadlee.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ascend Books (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0991275640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991275649
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Snowden on July 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I didn't expect much when the review copy of this book arrived in the mail. I'll admit to being a little full of myself, confident there would be nothing here I didn't already know. After all, I literally wrote the book on MMA history.

Please don't make the same mistake I did.

Yes, Clyde Gentry did a great job with No Holds Barred. And, yes, I did my best to fill in some gaps with Total MMA. But Art was there. He knows where all of the bodies are buried and his account of the build up to UFC 1 is riveting throughout. I read the book in one sitting on a flight to Las Vegas and was amazed. My intent was to skim through it for a bit and then pop on a movie. The movie, however, had to wait.

It may seem like overkill at first, to write an entire book about a single event instead of an overview of the sport he helped create. But Art and Sean Wheelock make it work, filling in details never before revealed and giving readers a seat at the negotiating table as the UFC went from dream to reality. The two then place readers cageside as the very first UFC begins with a belch and ends with an iconic champion fulfilling his family's dream.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John La Rocca on July 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been looking forward to this book for a very long time. The beginnings of the Ultimate Fighting Championship has always intrigued me. I knew it could not have been an easy road to get a mixed martial arts tournament off the ground. At the end of this book, I was exhausted. I felt like I was right there with Art Davie and feeling every stress and annoyance he would encounter leading up to that historic night on November 12th, 1993 in Denver, Colorado.

At first I thought it would be a hit piece from how Art Davie opened up about "telling the truth" about how the UFC was created. It ended not being a hit piece at all, but a in detail look on how it all started. I loved every page of this book. Starting my own pro wrestling promotion Premier back in January of 2013, it was overwhelming task. So going on Art Davie's journey of making his vision of various disciplines of combat sports coming together to see who in fact was truly the best, was an inspiration and motivated me even more to continue my company forward to the success I envision it.

My favorite chapters are the ones featuring the talent of the first ever tournament, from the chapter of trying to sign eight fighters to the chapter of going over the rules with the fighters the night before the event. Though Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock became MMA legends, most of the fighters in the first ever tournament have long been forgotten today, well other then maybe Art Jimmerson, the boxer who wore one boxing glove on his left hand into the cage. These forgotten fighters are remembered here and you get to know them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Les Smith on July 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As one of the few who watched this grow from an idea into a full blown event I can certify that what you are reading is the true story of how the UFC was born. Art has given us a detailed, first hand account of the birth and production of the first event, I can only hope he will continue the saga and let you all in on the inner workings for the entire time he was associated with the UFC. This book is a candid, funny and sometimes nakedly embarrassing story, filled with heroes, villains and village idiots. I lived it and I still found it a fast, funny, enjoyable trip through the UFC beginnings. If you are an MMA fan this is a must read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading this book because my martial arts instructor Jason DeLucia is in it -- but I finished reading it because it's a great story. Art Davie has written an interesting, informative, entertaining account of the beginnings of the UFC, from a perspective only he can give since he was there from the very start. His writing captures personalities more than typical histories do, so you feel like you know the people he's writing about. Art Davie explains -- in vivid and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny detail -- what it took to bring UFC from an idea to a full-fledged business, with all the sales pitches and negotiations and compromises and deals and setbacks and triumphs and sleepless nights along the way. If you've ever had a dream and wanted to turn it into a business, this story will help you believe it can be done. If you're looking for a good read with colorful true-life characters (if you read it to any kids, you might want to skip a word or two since real-life characters use real-life language), you'll find that this is one of the most engaging histories around. And of course, if you're interested in the UFC, it's a must-read and a fun one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Waluk on July 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If you a fan of mixed martial arts and the UFC you will want to read this book. Honestly if you are a fight fan of any kind you will want to read this book. A well paced yet highly detailed recounting of the origin of the Ultimate Fighting Championship by its co-founder Art Davie. Mr Davie and Mr. Wheelock have produced a history of the concept of MMA from ancient Greece to the 20th century that culminates in the first televised mixed martial arts tournament that was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It's hard to put down after you start. I was laughing out loud at times. The flow of the story keeps you engaged and never gets dry. I got a hard copy as well as a kindle version for the wife. After reading it I am getting another hard copy sent to my father. Buy it.
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